19:21 GMT02 July 2020
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    The top manager of the Vostochny space center project, Sergei Sklyarov, resigned Friday, the government press service said.

    MOSCOW, December 5 (Sputnik) – A decree by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says Sklyarov was relieved of his duties “on his own request.”

    Another governmental decree appoints Kirill Martynyuk to the post.

    The Vostochny space center project in Russia’s Far East, initially estimated to cost 400 billion rubles [$7.4 billion at the current exchange rate], is scheduled to be completed in July 2015, with first carrier rocket launch due in 2015 and the first manned launch slated for 2018.

    The project has been plagued by missed deadlines and a corruption scandal involving the former head of one of the project's main contractors, who was arrested earlier this year on charges of embezzling 1.8 billion rubles ($35 million at the current exchange rate).

    The cosmodrome's construction began in July 2012. Workers on the project have repeatedly said that they are failing to meet the tight deadlines, so in 2014 Dmitry Medvedev supported the idea of establishing a coordination center at the construction site, saying that it was difficult to direct the works all the way from Moscow.

    In mid-November, Medvedev said he was planning to discuss the situation with the leadership of Roscosmos space agency and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of space issues, as the problems Vostochny was facing were "not just objective but also subjective."

    The Vostochny space center is expected to reduce Russia's dependency on the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and advance the economy of Russia's Far East.


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